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How Heineken leveraged Puyol’s visit to deepen consumer engagement

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(L-R) Marketing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Emmanuel Oriakhi, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Chief Kola Jamodu; the Governor-elect of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; former, Spanish team, FC Barcelona, captain and UEFA Champions League Tour Ambassador, Carles Puyol; Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Jordi Borrut Bel; Non-Executive Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Adeyinka Aroyewun;former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha and Finance Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Rob Kleinjan at the VVIP event of the Heineken UEFA Champions League Tour in Lagos …recently

It has been argued that music and sports are becoming important platforms for marketing considering the bond between fans and their preferred teams or music stars. Little wonder why brand handlers jostle to associate with World Cup and other global sporting competitions.

A former Chief Marketing Officer at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Bola Akingbade, once stated that a company that seeks to maintain a strong brand must employ strategies that would elicit top of mind awareness while making the brand relevant beyond its functional benefits in a bid to get maximum loyalty.

The Heineken brand, of Nigerian Breweries, has consistently used its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League to promote its brand essence and create a top of mind awareness among its high-end consumers. Meanwhile, the brand has also appointed sport personalities and music icons as ambassadors to boost its market influence.

The brand maintains a stand to telling Nigerian story that will resonate through families and cultures across the country. Three years ago, it teamed up with Nigerian-American singer, Jidenna, to bond more with its patrons. In a TVC that was then airing on television, Jidenna was seen sharing gifts with his family after a trip back home, a perfect representation of the bond that is shared by many Nigerian families.

For a brand that has been the go-to beer brand in over 192, facilitating the coming to Nigeria of Spanish legend, Carles Puyol with the iconic UEFA Champions League trophy, was received with ‘pinch of salt’ by many Nigerians.

The company said his tour of Nigeria was to rub minds with stakeholders in beer industry and sports enthusiasts.

At a media briefing in Uyo, where Puyol was unveiled, Nigeria Breweries Marketing Director, Mr. Emmanuel Oriakhi explained that the ex-Barcelona star’s oming was a way of rewarding consumers of Heineken and fans of UEFA Champions League, as it would present the fans a unique opportunity not only to have a feel of the trophy but a wonderful photo opportunity with the strong defender, courtesy of Heineken.

According to Oriakhi, “Puyol iis one of the legends of the number five jersey. Such a player fits into what we want to achieve by bringing the world’s best into our country for Nigerians to have a chance to meet him for the first time and have photo opportunities with him and the iconic UEFA Champions League Trophy too.“

Beside the tour, the former FC Barcelona captain involved in an “Unmissable” football match at the Uyo International Stadium, where he played with the Shine Shine Bobo team which, was made up of some of the brand’s most loyal consumers, as well as past and present football players like former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Mutiu ‘Headmaster’ Adepoju, Daniel Amokachi and Augustine Eguavoen, among others.

The event did not just provide opportunity for sports lovers to feel the Trophy and interact with the legend, but accorded the brand the platform to bond more with consumers.

Oriakhi said, “The status of the brand has continued to be in the rise with the partnership and it gladdens the heart of its promoters. Heineken is a premium global brand while UEFA Champions’ League is also a unique brand that any global brand will love to identify with.”

This window of opportunity provided by Heineken for consumers and passionate fans is in its 12th year, has reached at least 33 countries across Africa, Asia, North and South America.

Sharing his experience, 34-year-old businessman, Ekom Simon said, ‘This is the best a brand can do to identify with the masses, I was glad to see our local footballers playing side by side with Puyol and top Nigerian players, including Jay Jay Okocha. This is not only a motivation for the players but an exposure for Akwa Ibomites. Personally, I feel so great and commend both the visitors and my state government that make Uyo an ideal place for such event.”


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